We don’t usually mention the ages of artists (and it’s not polite to ask!), but Tom Eves wants his listeners to know that he’s 21. Okay, we’re impressed. Not that we doubt the abilities of the younger generation; we’re just not used to them sounding so mature. Ambient drone music is music of restraint, and restraint is rare early in life. Not so on the new Wolf EP, Eves’ follow-up to last summer’s Chorus. (Quick note: that one is worth getting too, and you can find it here.) Chorus was a bit heavier on the guitar notes, but over the course of six months (2.4% of Eves life – sorry, Tom, couldn’t resist!) his sound has grown smoother, his tones warmer, more drone than ambient and more effective as a result.
The Wolf EP is a study in texture and mood. The vinyl crackle of “A Lack of Light” lends it an aged patina; when the extended chords begin to land, they do so more like sheets than notes. There’s not a lot of wolf in them, unless one thinks of the lone wolf, the wanderer foraging outside the pack. Yet in these tones, one does intuit cold, and wind, and ruffled fur. This is isolated music, serene in its separation. The frigid tone washes over the remaining tracks as well, sounding occasionally like organ music (“Lucky”), holy and forlorn. The title track is the loudest and the best, an assertive declaration of volume and shear that alternates between black and red and stops just short of aggression.
The swift evolution of Eves’ music has made us curious about his next move; our advice is to add a little grit to the texture, increasing the dynamic contrast, while continuing to move toward the drone field. Ben Frost’s wolf-themed By the Throat provides a fair counter. Let the winds blow; let the wolf howl; let the traveler who hears such sounds shiver, and quicken his steps. (Richard Allen)